ROUND ONE: 3-context vs. 14-symptomatic

r1f2 3-context vs. 14-symptomatic

Click here for authlete instructions.

Voter Instructions:

  • The countdown at the bottom of each pairing indicates how much time is left to vote.
    • When voting closes, timer will disappear.
  • Read both poems as many times as you like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
  • Press the “Vote” button to record your vote.
  • Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered.
  • You can only vote once from a given IP address.
    • Classrooms should submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
  • Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
  • Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
  • Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.

Here are the poems:

The Boy Whose Locker’s Next to Mine
by Shutta Crum

Indecision is a prison I’m locked within again.
Go ahead, text, friends said. I weigh the pros and cons.
But there’s no pretext I can find, to make him text me back.
And so I hail him from my jail—and trip, as he texts by.
Now I profess they were not his arms, which gently caught me up.
They were yours—the laughing boy whose locker’s next to mine.
Since then, the subtext of your smile confirms—context is so sublime!


The Goldfish in My Attic
by Darren Sardelli

All the goldfish in my attic
made my sister act dramatic.
Her behavior was erratic.
The result was quite traumatic.
How could something so aquatic
trigger something problematic?
I assumed she’d be ecstatic,
not so highly symptomatic.


Public Vote (3-context vs. 14-symptomatic)
Final Results:
3-context vs. 14-symptomatic

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
3-context vs. 14-symptomatic
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
3-context vs. 14-symptomatic

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  • Quinette Cook

    Shutta’s poem is so subtle and obviously for an older reader. Enjoyed the trip.
    Meanwhile, I couldn’t help smiling as I swam with the goldfish in Darren’s poem. Hmmm, I wonder if Pepperidge Farm knows he keeps them in the attic?

  • Mother Streusel

    I think the polls are revealing what a tough call this one was. Not going to admit which way I voted, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

  • Debbie B. LaCroix

    Tis a tie! Two great poems for different audiences….

  • Linda Baie

    Both poems hold lots of interesting wordplay-fun to read aloud!

  • Catherine

    Ooh this was a tough one. Great poems!

  • Damon Dean

    Quinette, I read real goldfish in Darren’s poem, floating on the surface in the bowl due to the heat. Boiled. THAT seemed traumatic to me, as I grew up as a young ichthyologist. (Wow. The most embarrassing admissions come out so easy on social media.) Anyway, I liked your poem, Darren. And Shutta, I loved the teenage spark in your well-written confession! Great poems and great word incorporation.

  • Virginia Rinkel

    Yes, this choice was tough, with words for two different audiences, speaking so well to us all.